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Subcultures and subterfuge at Open City Docs Fest

news editor3 July 2013

pencil-iconWritten by Ben Stevens, Content Editor at UCL Communications and Claire Roberts, UCL French & Italian 2013

So often, the success of a documentary comes from the level of access that the director has gained to extraordinary people or extraordinary worlds – in the process, offering an audience a perspective that they’ve never seen before.

12 O'Clock Boys

This was certainly what marked out several films at the recent Open City Docs Fest.

Now in it’s third year, the festival filled venues across UCL, Bloomsbury and even further afield in Hackney from 20–23 June.

The Opening Gala, 12 O’Clock Boys, is set in Baltimore – but while the city may be familiar to fans of The Wire, the world it captures – urban dirt bike gangs – is anything but. (more…)

Smoking at the Odeon: Memories of British Cinema-Going of the 1960s

Clare S Ryan14 May 2013

Cinema screen, by m4tik on Flickr

Cinema screen, by m4tik on Flickr

What are your most vivid memories of going to the cinema? Perhaps childhood visits to see cartoons, or seeing a film on a date? A new UCL project is asking people about their experiences of cinema-going in the 1960s, and, in doing so, raising interesting questions about what we remember about seeing films, and why.

As part of UCL’s Festival of the Arts, Matt Jones (UCL History) gave a talk about how he is researching people’s response to 1960s cinema.

The project is interested in how people remember films, what part cinema played in their lives and whether films have shaped their memory of the time.

Going to the cinema seems to evoke strong memories in all of us. Even though I wasn’t around in the 1960s, my own memories – like most people’s – of going to see films are mixed up with memories of who I went with, how old I was and where I saw the film.

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‘The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms’ On the Big Screen

James M Heather28 March 2012

What better way to round off the end of term than with a nice movie night? How about a nice, free movie night?

I’m a recent convert to the ‘On the Big Screen’ events, but the three I’ve been to have all been fantastic. Organised by Jack Ashby from the UCL Grant Museum, and introduced by Dr. Joe Cain from UCL Science & Technology Studies, these film nights draw in a big crowd of regulars, who pack out one of the lecture theatres to enjoy some retro cinema.

This last instalment brought the 1953 Harryhausen classic ‘The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms’ to Bloomsbury.

As per usual, the ever-knowledgable Dr Cain provided an entertaining breakdown of the film to come, giving the audience pointers to look out for and generally fleshing out some details required for deeper appreciation.

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‘Under the Caribbean’ On The Big Screen, Film Night at The Grant Museum

James M Heather25 January 2012

It’s only January, and I think I’ve met my Speedo quota for the year already. I’ve not been hanging out at the Lido, but watching the latest movie aired on the Big Screen at UCL, with Dr Joe Cain and the Grant Museum of Zoology.

Cramming into a lecture theatre after hours doesn’t feel so surreal this time around, but this month’s film certainly does. Under the Caribbean (or Unternehmen Xarifa in its original German) made a splash when it aired in 1954, hooking an Oscar among other accolades, for bringing dramatic underwater footage to the silver screen for perhaps the first time.

This film follows the exploits of the handsome couple of Hans and Lotte Hass. Along with a plucky crew aboard the sturdy yacht ‘Xarifa’, the Hasses sail their way from the Caribbean to the Galapagos Islands in search of sperm whales.

All sounds well and good, except that it’s completely barmy.

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